Friday, December 23, 2011

i'm back

It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in my mom's guest bedroom in North Carolina with my skinny little cats getting ready to say goodbye to leave for several months. But it wasn't yesterday, it was almost a year ago. Now I'm back, sitting in that same bedroom with my now plump cats and thinking "what a fucking year." It has been a hell of a year. I don't think it's totally hit me yet, but it's coming.

For now I'm still happy as a clam despite the unplanned/unknown/slightly terrifying future that I haven't come up with yet for 2012.

So, in honor of my scrambled mind, here are a series of videos I recorded in Argentina that I haven't uploaded here thus far. In the meantime I'll try to process the past year and get back to you...

My best friends in BA, making fun of an infomercial from the 80s for erection pills that was dubbed in Spanish:



An awesome display I saw at Tecnópolis, a technological fair in Buenos Aires. Turn your computer down before you watch it though, because it starts off at a seizure-inducing noise level:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

sugar


I can pretend to be cool all I want but the truth is I'm...not. Here's a lovely story to paint a picture:

I'm having class with an older, advanced student who is the director of his own architecture firm. The man oozes professionalism, hard work, structure and responsibility. We're having a conversation about some amazing hiking trip he's recently taken in which he was trekking through the ice fields of Patagonia. I nod and listen intently as I put a teaspoonful of sugar into the tea he has brought me.

"Oh yeah?" I say to let him know I'm listening as he talks about his interesting-as-fuck life.

But then my sugar spills around my tea cup all over the pristine surface of the table where we're sitting. I attempt to remain cool and try not to be distracted or to distract him as I slowly collect the sugar into a pile with my hands. But once I have the pile together I panic in my mind, because, what the fuck do I do with this sugar now?

Since I am really *great in these situations, I decide quickly to take the heart-covered, tattered bag I use to carry my books to class and use it as my waste bin.

I continue to look him in the eye and nod, fascinated, as I sweep the sugar toward the opening of my bag at the edge of the table. He suddenly realizes what I'm doing and stops me from myself.

"No! No! Don't do that, please..." He gets up and rushes to find a trash can to bring me so I don't sweep sugar into my bag like a damn fool.

What I learned that day - don't ever try to solve a problem quickly in your own mind without first consulting another intelligent human being.

*great (meaning terrible)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

decisions

I make lots of silly decisions in life. Like deciding to eat a peach while I was walking down the street yesterday. What a friggin mess. Could I have chosen a messier snack? Maybe I could have brought along a basket of buffalo wings? Boiled, unpeeled shrimp? Anyway, lots of silly decisions. I'm happy to say that coming here has not been one of those silly decisions. I love it. Every little bit of it with all my heart.

I even love it when I wake up early, go outside and find myself in the midst of sidewalk washin' time when everyone's hosing off their sidewalk and I have to get my $40 peso shoes wet, (they're practically made of paper, so water doesn't help the overall sturdiness).

I even love it when the fruit and vegetable stand man gets mad at me for not having coins because nobody in this fucking city has coins so people hoard their coins and lie when shops ask for coins. I was lying, I DID have coins but he wasn't gettin em. Coins.

I especially love it when I see a woman throw a cup of hot coffee at a man crossing a busy intersection while screaming things so shrilly I'm not able to understand a word, I simply walk 10 feet behind him and watch in amazement.

As I get closer to leaving I feel like one foot is on a little island and the other foot is on another island and each day they get a little bit further apart. One side is pulling me toward home & friends & family & Chipotle & normalcy & English and the other side is pulling me toward friends & medialunas & Spanish & lunacy & constant pleasant surprises.

Right now I'm almost doing the splits and I've still got over 3 weeks to go before I fly.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ten people in a room talking

My brain is like ten people talking in a room at once about different shit. Everyone's on a tangent and just keep going on and on and while this is happening, periodically, one person will hear what another one is talking about and it makes them think of something else and so they start talking about this new topic instead.

Can I focus on what any of them are saying exactly? Not at all. And when I try to zero in on one of them who might be talking about computers, for example, the attempt to focus on one at a time doesn't work.

In this case I'd just think alright, computers. Computers... Apple, Steve Jobs, driven people, angry bosses, I wonder if that movie with Kevin Spacey about bad bosses was any good, remember in the movie "Seven" when Kevin Spacey yells DETECTIIIIIIIIIIIIIVEEEEEEEEE, Kevin Spacey worked with Haley Joel Osment in that one movie I never saw, I see dead people, my grandfather died in 1984, I never read the book 1984...

You see where this would be a problem. I need to find a way to convince all these assholes to talk about one thing at a damn time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the least attractive

The Huffington Post was kind enough to break down the statistics I was already quite aware of, which puts both Baltimore & DC in the list of the most unattractive people in the U.S. To which I replied GET ME HOME RIGHT NOW PLEASE. May my feet have wings! Fly me back to the land of beauty!

I think it is best to look on the bright side in these situations. Sure, I'm leaving a country of beautiful, beautiful men. And I mean, they're everywhere. You're on the bus, hot guy. You go to the supermarket, hot guy. You walk down the street in the morning to go to work, hot guy. I think you get the idea. That being said, since I'm leaving to go home to one of the ugliest cities in America I should do something to cheer myself up.


First, let's just try to forget about this beautiful boludo above that came from Rosario, Argentina.

Remember that Argentina is also the country that brought us these men...



Carlos Tevez - No this is not a caveman dressed in modern sports attire. This thick-necked man was born in 1984 in Ciudadela, Buenos Aires, Argentina.




Leo Messi - Admittedly I like this guy a lot. His soccer skills are incredible, and, depending on the face he's making on the field, he ain't so bad. But this picture really confuses me. Should I be attracted to him here? Or should I be asking around to all my gay guy friends to see who wants a go at him?




Diego Maradona - One of the greatest soccer players of all time. He may be divine athletically (or was, at least back in the 80s) but aesthetically divine he is not.

Let's go back a little further so I can give myself further reassurance here.




Bartolome Mitre - Liberal President during 1860s. Wearer of John Wilkes Booth hair and Samuel Morse beard.





Jose de San Martin - Main leader of the South American independence movement in the 1800s. Crossed the Andes on horseback which sounds really, really hard. Good at being spooked by things to his left.




And here was his wife - Maria de los Remedios de Escalada - daaaaaaaaaaammmmnnnnn... Buzz, your girlfriend, WOOF.


Not feeling so bad anymore. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

what i'm going to miss

When I think about my time here slowly ticking away it makes me sad. I'm really excited to get back home to my friends, family & everything else, too, though. So it's a weird, inexplicable mix of sad and happy. Here are a few things I'll miss about being here:

The random things -

- a man sitting on a doorstep reading a Spanish translation of a Sidney Sheldon novel

- the butt crack of a man bent over the passenger seat of his taxi with the door open and his taxi hood up, seemingly fixing the car from the inside

- a car driving down the road that has been transformed into a tank covered in books

- a man on the side of the road at 10 o'clock at night going through an open computer monitor

- a hobo's dong poking through the hole of his onesy

- attractive bus drivers (sorry, DC metro employees but you usually don't have it going on like that)

- stores in which you can't buy just one pair of shoes, you must buy four pairs of shoes on your first visit or you have to leave (actually, this I won't miss)

- no longer flinching when I hear explosions from protests outside on 9 de Julio while I'm teaching at one of my companies

- the worst haircuts I have ever seen in my life, and I've been through the U.S. south a ton of times


More to come, I'm sure...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

me and cats

I have come to realize that since I've been here I have collected a pathetically large amount of pictures** of me with cats. "You can take my men but you can never take my cats!!!" - Mel Gibson in Braveheart

**Please do notice, if you haven't already, the tiled picture of the cat in my blog background. Sorry, I know the number of adorable kitty photos is gratuitous but you shouldn't be here if you don't like cats, dick.



























Wednesday, October 12, 2011

be uninterested

I recently had a conversation with a guy friend of mine here about a guy that I was interested in who dropped off the face of the earth after we had a few dates.

My guy friend seemed pretty baffled about this boy's sudden disappearance. He said, "I don't know what could have happened, I thought he liked you." And after that he looked at me and asked me a question with the same tone as someone who was asking their friend if they left a candle burning near the curtains in their bedroom at home. "Did you show signs that you were really interested?"

I thought for a second. "Of course not," I responded, "I tried to make it clear that I really hated him whenever we were together."

What the fuck kind of question is this? I definitely don't blame my friend for asking it because everyone asks it. In the world of dating you have to show just the right amount of interest and disinterest in order to trick the other person into liking you. I can only speak from the female point of view, here. I know that men suffer their own tortures in dating, too, but I'm not talking about that right now.

As a woman, if you say something or do something that shows you are too interested in a guy they read this pretty clearly as "let's have children together, tomorrow." The meanings of what we say and do are as clear as the color coding for a mood ring. For example, while on a date if you mention that you thought about them the other day, this means that you imagined how you would look in your wedding dress as you walked down the aisle toward him in his tux. If you say that you told your friends about him this means that you picked flowers together to play the he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not game and then played the 4th grade game "MASH" for a half hour to see what city you will live in together and how many children you will have.

In order to avoid scaring the guys that you are really interested in, I believe it's important to do the following to make it clear that you're uninterested and therefore win his affections -

1. Always avoid eye contact.
2. Call him by the wrong name sometimes while you're out to dinner.
3. If he offers to pay for dinner or drinks tell him "sure, thanks for nothing, dick" and then leave without him.
4. Try to trip him while you're walking down the street together.
5. If he does something affectionate like grab your hand or put his arm around you scream shout in his face.
6. If he calls or texts you, never respond. And, of course, never text him first, psycho, what are you in love or something?
7. When he asks about some of your interests just belch in response.

This ought to do it. I can't guarantee it will work if you don't follow each of these tips strictly but it probably will. You'll have him in the palm of your hand.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

a few pictures

Here are a few snapshots from the past few weeks -

Two of my favorite things in life. Kittens & koffee. (and being kute with my kords, woops almost worked- words)


Lovely view out of the kitchen window. Along with the plant Katya bought Beatrice, still alive and well.


Some $2 peso books from a used book place.


We made sushi! I say we but it was mostly other people and I enjoyed the eating part.


For one day I brushed my teeth with the littlest toothbrush. This is what happens when you're cheap and buy the least expensive toothbrush at the pharmacy. It falls when you're in the shower and breaks in two. And yes I wear a thumb ring. So what? Who cares?


Hacking my gmail account.


It was an election year for the mayor of Buenos Aires. This was one of the flyers for the challenger, Filmus. Smushed into the sidewalk. :( He did not win. Macri, the incumbent, pretty much won by a landslide. Macri had a ton of ads all OVER the city. He's got dark teeth. Not yellow, just dark. I don't understand either.


My friend Alison had a 1920's flapper party for her birthday. This is not Alison, though. This is Jenny. She doesn't seem to know why someone's taking her picture in this moment.


The view out of the window in the hallway outside my bedroom.


In front of a whimsical musical mural.


Random Michael Jackson look-a-like dance party. This was a surprise, a real gem. As I crossed the street one Sunday I noticed I was crossing alongside Jacko Michael Jackson and Michael Jackson from the video Beat It as well. And then I realized there were Michael Jacksons everywhere, all around me. They were all going to this disorganized dance party near the obeslico in the center of the city. I could only stay for 4 songs but I'm so happy that I did, it was a random treasure. The set list went like this - 1. The Way You Make Me Feel 2. Blood on the Dancefloor 3. The Way You Make Me Feel 4. Blood on the Dancefloor. Yes, I know, I don't understand either.

Monday, October 3, 2011

let me tell you about YOUR country


It's amazing how much people seem to know about the U.S. here. I know because they tell me how much they know all the time. Or at least, what they think they know. A number of my students, (who haven't ever actually visited the U.S.) tell me in a exaggeratedly disgusted way that we do nothing but consume, (buy shit and eat fast food). I mostly just sit patiently and listen, because for me it's interesting to get an idea of how some people see us. Plus, there's no need for me to talk since they never ask me how it is in my personal experience, they just tell me what they already know about my country.

"You've got a lot of fat people." "Obama is an idiot." "You guys get involved in everything."

As much as I may criticize my country while I'm there, when I'm away I often want to defend my country and the people that live there. Sure, we produce a lot of shit that's bad for people, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Ford automobiles. Sure, we consume a ton of shit. But these critics who lecture me on my country are the same people who ask their friends who are visiting Miami to bring them back clothes, shoes, computers, ipods, etc. Hell, they're just as hooked as we are.

Everyone "knows a lot" about the U.S. but many Americans can't even find Argentina on a map. I'd be willing to bet money my family still can't and I'm living here. My own dad thought, and if I'm being honest with myself, probably still continues to think, that I'm in Brazil.

on the phone 4 months after arriving

Me: "Brazil? No Dad, that's actually another country altogether, I'd need a different, special visa to--"

My Dad: *cutting me off* "Alright because Tom Brady is in Rio right now with his Brazilian girlfriend and I thought you may get lucky and spot him in the city."

Me: "I'll try to see if I can find him."



The people I talk to typically seem to be on one side of the spectrum, they hate the U.S. and what it stands for or they love it all. The parts that some people love about the U.S. are unfortunately not all the same things I love, like that we all hate our immigrants and want the rich to keep their hard earned money without paying high taxes. These beliefs are generalizations, obviously not all Americans love all of these things.

You already know I have my fair share of generalizations regarding Argentina, but that doesn't make them true for everyone that lives here. They don't all have squidbillie haircuts and mullets, they don't all lie to their girlfriends and wives about having multiple other girlfriends, not every woman has long straight hair.

If I've learned anything it's that I probably shouldn't/definitely can't generalize about other countries TO people from those countries, because if they're anything like me, they don't care for it too much. Nobody needs a lecture about how terrible their country is and how it could improve.

Except for France, to hell with those fuckers. hahaha! (is she kidding?) hahahaha...

Friday, September 30, 2011

taxes

The biggest pain in my ass this year has been filing my income taxes. "But it's September!" You may be thinking, and you would be right! It is indeed September, and my fucking taxes have yet to be processed and the money has yet to be delivered to my sad excuse for a bank account. With the useless assistance of TurboTax I have been battling from abroad and hating every minute of it. As I'm typing this Cher's "Believe" has just come on randomly on my iTunes and I have instantly become angrier. Why the FUCK do I even HAVE this song??

State Taxes -
These were mailed in back in January and were, of course, lost in the mail. I picture my little envelope sitting on a ship bound for the South Pacific, ready to soak up some sun and enjoy paradise. Yes, the envelope itself is out to get me and has chosen a different destination rather than the sad and angry building in Baltimore where passive aggressiveness and resentment is a requirement if you want to work there. I can't say I blame the little fucker. However, here I am without the pathetic $300 or so that I've been promised. But don't worry, I can still get it. I called and got it all spelled out for me. All I have to do is do backflips through 495 during rush hour and then hitch a ride with a trucker named Gil, his name has to be Gil or it won't count. Gil must then drop me off at the airport where I fly to Arabia (that's not even a real destination!) to retrieve a magic lamp which I must then rub. A genie will appear with my lost W2 forms and then all I have to do is figure out how to fly back (because the genie won't grant me any wishes not involving taxes). Then once I'm back I just have to put them in the mail again and pray they don't make their way to the South Pacific AGAIN, cause then I'd have to start all over.

Federal Taxes** -
They've been rejected through TurboTax at least 9 times since I've gone through to readjust them and make the necessary changes they asked me to do. Ages ago I called TurboTax who told me I had to call the IRS who then told me I had to call TurboTax who then told me I had to call the IRS. Efficiency doesn't even begin to describe this process. And all for $700!! I was talking to a Brazilian friend of mine recently who was living in the states for about 4 years on a work visa who said he hired an accountant to take care of his taxes for him. "To my surprise I ended up receiving about $7,000! Hiring an accountant was the best thing I did." As he was saying this I smiled a sad, miserable smile of death and hoped that the anger I had in my head would be enough to voodoo curse him somehow. "Imagine that!" I said to him. If I hired an accountant for my MEASLY $700 I would probably end up owing the accountant my first born son and my best goat and I don't EVEN OWN ANY GOATS.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK*

*PLEASE forgive this terrible, angry post, you've caught me right after speaking with Dee on the phone from the MD tax office. I think I'll just steal away to the Andes and live off the land for a while. That sounds easier than all this bullshit.

**Update - My federal taxes have been accepted and will be direct deposited sometime this month. This is thanks to a wonderful and patient woman at TurboTax by the name of Alison who must've seen that at some point yesterday, before I spoke with her, I had placed "fuck you" in the comments section where it asked me to rate their service.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

some generalizations

Let me be clear that I love this place and the people that live here. To be honest I fucking love it here. A lot of my days are spent trying to cook up ways to maybe come back one day after I leave. I walk down the street happy as a fart in a windstorm, (or trapped in a closet, whichever makes the most sense to you). I ride the bus with the exterior of an experienced city girl, but on the inside I'm grinning like an idiot at all the random things I see as the bus floors it through several consecutive red lights.

But happy stories aren't funny. I know what my blog audience of about 3 friends wants to read. Stories of silly shit happening and pissing me off. Luckily, there's never a dearth of silly, frustrating shit here. And to be honest, I'm never quite as happy as when I cynically curse something in my head. :) [healthy]

Another PSA before I continue. Argentines are a wonderful, wonderful people. I'm being serious as a heart attack here. I love them as I love all people in the world.

Now that I've attempted to cover my ass, let me give you a few generalizations I've made about the people here. Let's take a look into the mind of the Argentine (according to me) -

Q. Where is a good place to stop and stand inexplicably while walking down the street?
A. Right here, in front of this crowd of people behind me.

Q. When is it a good time to give your opinion on something?
A. Right now, and while we're talking about it, I don't think you're doing enough with your life.

Q. What do you do if you see a black person in public?
A. Stare at them openly to the point where both should be very uncomfortable, except that I'm not at all.
*It's worth noting that there is an extremely small number of black people here. It's like a game of Where's Waldo. I feel like I'm earning points in my head when I spot a black person somewhere here.

Q. As a man, when women are walking down the street, do you believe they want to hear how hot you think they are?
A. Yes.

Q. As a woman, what do you think of other women around you?
A. Bitches.

Q. As a man, how should you wear your hair?
A. In a manner so atrocious that it could eventually incite violence.

Q. As a woman, how should you wear your hair?
A. Crystal Gayle long.

Q. What is one of your favorite songs?
A. This song

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

hair

For those who have been blessed with hair of silken perfection, good for you assholes. I don't know if it's the water or some ancient spell cast on me by gypsies but for the past few months my hair has been a hot, hot mess. Oily at the roots like I haven't washed it for days and dry at the ends like I should stop washing it for days. I've tried a lot of things to remedy this problem. Like 4 or 5 different shampoos for starters. I tried shampooing twice. I stopped using conditioner altogether.

I even tried an apple cider vinegar rinse. Which just ended up making me smell vinegar in my hair all the next day which of course made me paranoid. I walked down the street that day passing men and thinking, it is I, Seductrica, here to impair your good judgement with my stink. I'm silent but deadly. And just in case the fumes aren't enough to seal the deal, you can't tell, but under this big purple coat and beneath my pants I have unexplained pimples right above my ass that may just be a rash because I read somewhere that you can't get pimples in that area of your body.


Here's me giving almost no fucks about my hair smelling like vinegar.

But seriously, that day I made my students smell my head that day and they said it was fine. Sure, they could've been lying. But most of them probably wouldn't miss an opportunity to insult me. Today I had my hair pulled back with one of those headbands to hold it slickly in place. One of my students asked me if I was going to play tennis today. At first I didn't really catch his drift until he said, "because your hair looks like that."

I looked at him like this:



A look sprinkled with just the right amount of self-disappointment, slight indifference and acknowledgement of fact.

No, really I love this student, honestly. But HONESTLY I could use a little less honesty sometimes from the people here. FINE, people, I already know I'm not really feminine enough for this country. My hair is short, my posture is bad, my clothes are different from other women's clothes here, I regularly have a Bea Arthur look on my face when I'm walking on the street. You could give Elijah Wood some girl's dress pants and a stack of English books and send him to my classes and my students wouldn't know the difference between us. "His chest looks a little more full," they'd probably say, pointing to Elijah.

At least I don't have head lice anymore, right? Yep, I had head lice. Yes, adults can get head lice, too. I still have my shampoo just to be on the safe side, though.



I hope I get the chance to meet the person who came up with the name for this shampoo. Maybe some of that genius will rub off on me. Much like the lice from the hair of some douche bag rubbed off onto my hair somehow a few months ago.

Hair. The End.

Monday, September 12, 2011

favorite student quotes

I love my job.


Student - "I love Steven Seagal."

Student - "...like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governator in California." I thought this was a clever joke made by one of my students until I realized the translation for "governor" in Spanish is "gobernador." This was only a mistake, he wasn't trying to be funny at all. I bet he was wondering why I was laughing at him.

Student - "I won't date a man with back hair or a man with silly underwear. He might shave his back but it will still grow back and he might say that he got rid of all the underwear but he probably has some hidden somewhere still."

*answer on a test to the question "What happens when a person becomes a teenager?" -
"When start to discover himself and get curious and pimples."

Student - "I'm 70% sure we're all going to die next year so we should do what we want."

*while handing a student a test he had to take for class* Student - "You look very nice today teacher." Me - "No I don't, here's your test."

Student - "What is the coocoo clan?" Me - "Do you mean the Ku Klux Klan?" Student - "Yes."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

sometimes i think dogs are out to get me here

Don't get me wrong, I like dogs a lot. I think I've grown to love them even more since I've been here. Every day I pass dog walkers pushing along at least 9 dogs of every size and breed together, moving like a school of fish and I think "aaaaaaawwwwwww!!!!!"

But I also think some dogs here are out to get me. They're sneaky because they know how much I love cats and how much the world loves dogs and they use this against me. They make me look like the crazy one for not joining in. Everyone's a dog lover here, this is abundantly clear. The dogs walk around with little coats and Messi jerseys in the cold weather, they're sometimes even carried around everywhere if they're small enough. There's also a dog park around every corner filled with groomed and very well trained pups.

I hope this city does not forget that it is the dogs that leave the shit on the sidewalks, at least 4 piles per block, (at least I THINK it's dog shit, I'm not good at identifying hobo shit, so it could also be that).

Also, there are enough yippie dogs here to start a small and annoying army. I sat and listened to one bark his or her high-pitched bark somewhere in the building I live in for at least an hour and a half and I thought WHY DO PEOPLE OWN THESE FUCKERS? BARK BARK BARK BARK YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP!!!!!

Another dog tried to trip me on my way across the street the other day. It's scary enough trying to cross the street here with crazed and impatient taxi drivers waiting for the opportunity to try to use a human like a speed bump. And then a dog on a leash darts right under my feet and once I recover I look at the owner who does nothing but smile an I'm-sorry-about-that-but-I-can't-yell-at-this-adorable-little-thing-can-you?? Pure evil.

Cats are cute. I promise. They're not evil, they're sweet too. And they don't try to kill you in the streets! And they only meow like crazy if they're in heat and why would anyone have a cat in heat? Maybe I'm starting to realize why people hate cats, they probably always had "heat" cats, horny females wookin per nub. Speaking of heat, to prove how sweet cats are, I took a video* of the 2 formerly pregnant cats I live with and their litter of kittens. Cats 1 Dogs 0.

*I've been told this video is long, so if you don't have 2 minutes and 20 seconds to spare and you don't want to hear me speaking Cat Lady, don't bother

Thursday, September 1, 2011

ice cream, anyone?



This ad for Frigor ice cream is all over the city.

I see nothing abnormal or inappropriate with this at all.

This is just a woman trying to enjoy her ice cream in the most sexually suggestive way possible. We all eat our ice cream like this sometimes. Sometimes I like to do the splits wearing only underwear and stiletto heels and then I eat my ice cream cone by making it look like I'm giving it a BJ. See? Normal.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

is there a nice way to be mean?

You know what sucks? When you like someone and they don't like you back. I'm not just talking about when you are the one not getting the person you want, though, this is sad, too. I think I fall in love in this city at least once every day. Everyone here is like a young John Stamos. NO criticism of Stamos will be accepted by my ears. Go to hell if you don't believe Stamos is/was/will always be a fox.



I've seen my share of unrequited love. There was the beautiful man who I substitute taught for three weeks from an Agriculture and Energy company who lived in Indonesia for 3 years. He could've set me on fire, stamped my face out with his boot and then somehow accidentally set me on fire again, I would still have a signed marriage license for him in my charred hand. BEAUTIFUL. MAN. I cooly* gave him my email address at the end of our last class together and offered my assistance if he was ever looking to practice English outside of class. (SEX) But sadly I have yet to hear anything. But you know what? There were 3 seconds on the clock and I took my shot from half court. Did it go in? Fuucckkk no, my ankle gave out and it was an air ball, but at LEAST I tried.

And then there's always the gorgeous guy who sits behind the front desk in the lobby of the building where Jermaine works. He used to have long hair he would put in a bun and I STILL dug the guy. THEN he got his hair cut and holy SHIT. I acknowledged his hair cut and told him it looked nice in Spanish and he thanked me, then said something about how he had to cut it because it was starting to annoy him since it was so long. It took everything in me not to just say to his face, in English, "and I thought I wanted to fuck you BEFORE!"

So, yes, these could-be's are sad. However, what can be just as frustrating is trying to guide the this-guy-is-nice-but-i'm-not-at-all-attracted-to-him guys continuously back into friend territory or swat weirdos away permanently. I'm not saying I have some line of assholes trying to chat me up, but I am saying it really sucks when you like them but not LIKE THAT.

There's not a nice way to say that, is there?

How do you nicely say, I like talking to you, but your fingernails are very long on only your left hand and not your right and that really weirds me out.

Or, your hair has longer, wispy pieces that clearly get in your eyelashes as you talk, how do you not notice and fix this??

How do you nicely say, please do not make cutesy comments about how pretty you think I am, because now we both should be uncomfortable. Oh, you're not? Well good for you, dickhead.

How do you nicely say you must not be aware of how bad your breath is, otherwise you would not be leaning in so close and saying so many words that begin with "P."

I'll keep trying to think of a nice way.


*By "cooly" I mean I probably looked like this while I asked:


Woooouuulld you like to email me sometime?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

lying



**not an actual photo of my student, this is Jermaine Jackson

One of my favorite students shares a name with one of the members of the Jackson 5. To protect his identity, (from the 2 or 3 people I know who read this and probably already know who I'm talking about anyway), I will call him by the name of one of the other Jackson brothers.

So Jermaine and I were having a deep discussion the other day about lying. He was trying to definitively decide when it's right and when it's wrong. He made some good points, such as when someone asks if they look nice, especially if they are a woman, you should always say yes, even if it's not true. I was surprised to hear an Argentine say this since they have never seemed to hesitate in the past to tell me when I look like horse shit. Like my hairdresser/guy friend who I met in a bar who almost immediately told me my haircut looked awful on me. I didn't think they sugarcoated anything, but I guess I was wrong.

Jermaine continued, "like if I were to tell you you were the most beautiful woman in the world, you know that's bullshit, but I lie anyway."

Alright, Jermaine. I want off of this ride now. Somehow your explanation of how you should lie so you don't offend people is still managing to offend me. You don't need to remind me I'm not Alessandra Ambrosio I have a mirror and plenty of billboards to do that for me. Yet somehow, this charming SOB always stays on my good side.

The hour ended quickly as it always does when you just sit and talk to an extremely interesting and slightly-insane-in-a-good-way man.

A man who once stopped me mid sentence screaming "Oooohh!!!" as he stared, with his mouth agape, out the window behind me to the river. A few seconds later when he snapped out of it and I had turned around to see just a beautiful cloud formation over the water and nothing else, he said, "I thought we were being attacked, the sky looked so bright, but never mind."

A man who asked me to reschedule his classes for Mondays and Wednesdays so that he could go to his rollerskating class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There will be more to share regarding Jermaine, soon. There always is.

When we were walking out that night after our discussion on lying I commented on the faded old heart-covered bag I carry my books in, saying it was so old and torn, I was embarrassed. But don't worry, Jermaine managed to make me feel better.

"Yes, that bag is very TERRIBLE," he said laughing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

bailarines toda la vida

I watched my friends in a community dance performance this weekend and was super impressed. The show was made up of two dance groups, admittedly, I can't remember the name of the first group, it was something about the wind. I think it was Lady of the winds, maybe? I'm terrible. I looked everywhere to find my program I brought home but I can't find it. :(

Fortunately, my friends weren't in this performance, so I don't have to feel too bad about not remembering the exact name. But I do have to feel bad about this picture I took with a flash which they specifically asked that we not do. I thought I had taken the flash off, but my camera has been fucking up lately. So, at a critical moment of the performance, the crescendo, if you will, my fucking flash went off and this is what I got -



My friends were in the group Bailarines Toda la Vida and I got some cool videos of them. I'm not the best at interpretations, especially since the descriptions of the dances were in Spanish and my ability to pay attention to detail is non-existent. But I believe the first two videos I took below represent wars between groups. And the 3rd one I took, I'm not completely clear on what this part represents. I believe it's supposed to represent the disappeared persons from the Dirty War in the late 1970s in Argentina where thousands of people disappeared during a military dictatorship in the country. It could also be that wandering around in the dark with your eyes closed and touching other people can be very relaxing and nice.








I had participated in a few of these classes but couldn't make the practice/rehearsals before the performances so I couldn't join them. :( It was still so great to see everything come together really well. :)



The lovely dancers:
Victoria & Jen

Thursday, August 11, 2011

juice box straw




Picture it, Buenos Aires, 2011. A young, doofy American girl enters a supermercado to buy a juice box to sip from on her way to the subway. She pays the [un]friendly lady at the register, she puts her juice into her school bag and walks out to the street, headed toward Plaza San Martin and ready to enjoy some good sippin.

She pulls the juice out of her bag. OH but there's no straw attached to this juice box!!! Fuck's sake!!

She goes back into the supermercado and asks the lady at the register if she can exchange her little worthless juice box for a new one. She doesn't remember the Spanish word for straw, so she simply gestures toward the juice box and outlines a straw with her finger, and pretends to sip the imaginary straw in the air. The lady stares for a minute, emotionless, and then points to a cup by the register that is full of paper-covered straws. That'll do. The girl grabs the straw, says thank you, and cheerfully heads back outside again.

She pulls the straw from it's cover and attempts to put it into the juice box. The straw bends in half, unable to fulfill one of it's TWO fucking duties:
1. be durable enough to be inserted into a container
2. allow liquid to pass through successfully from point A to point B

She throws the PATHETIC AND WORTHLESS straw into the trash and decides to drink directly from the carton like a hobo. Actually, a hobo would probably have a much more sensible way to drink the juice, a sloth or any other creature probably could've found a better way, too. Regardless of how awkward her efforts she walks toward the subway and decides to suck the juice directly from the carton like the asshole she is.

By the time she is close to her destination she had managed to drink 1/8 of the container. Fair enough. She has to pull over to a quiet corner of the street that would no doubt reek of urine and shamelessly finish the rest as quickly as possible.

As she drinks the juice inefficiently she thinks, "how the fuck do I always manage to do most things the hardest most absurd way possible?"  Weirdos walk by her and look at her like she is a weirdo. She finishes the juice and goes down into the subway.

She finds a seat on the train and goes into her bag to find a book to read. Her hand feels something wrapped in plastic....it's very small....seems like it could be....



the original, FUNCTIONAL, fucking juice box straw.

Folks, that young doofy girl, was me. And that is how I do things.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

cat yin-yang

Yaaaaaaaaaaayyy!!!! Pregnant cats sleeping the day away on my bed! Their babies are due in about 2 weeks and yes, they're both pregnant. I can't wait to have little cross-eyed siamese kittehs wandering around my apartment.

Friday, August 5, 2011

characters

God bless Argentina for giving me the things I love most in life, ridiculous situations and great characters. Teaching English here has been the most hilarious and wonderful experience in the world. Every day provides a great opportunity for some sort of awkward cultural or social faux-pas from either my students or from myself. And I get the opportunity to peer into the lives of cool normal Argentines. Here are two examples -

CEO
I'm sitting in a sweeping grand office on the 26th floor in downtown Buenos Aires. The view from the huge windows out of the office overlook Puerto Madero, a very ritzy and modern part of the city, as well as the Rio de la Plata, the river and the ports connecting the city to international trade and travel. In front of me is a thin and fit man with grey hair of about 45 or 50. He is the CEO of an Energy Company, a professional, serious, but charming man.

If you can imagine Billy Bob Thornton at his very best, (looks wise, and NOT when he was in Sling Blade UH-HUH), and ignore all of his weird behavior, (I know this is hard and I'm not doing this CEO justice, but could you just fucking try to imagine this for me?), you would have something close to the man in front of me.

Sort of like this -



He is a very advanced English speaker and is currently reading an article I've brought about a Colombian revolutionary now working in the U.S. He comes to the word "fawning" and asks me to explain it. I do and we continue for a minute or two, but suddenly, he interrupts me.

"Ball licker," he says, out of nowhere.

Now, I'm accustomed to random comments out of left field, my mother is the queen of this. This one truly surprised and delighted me. I let it sit for a minute or two, to really enjoy the moment.

"Is that what you say?" he asks, "for someone who is fawning?"

"Weelll," I say, high-pitched. I try to find better words, but all I can come up with is brown noser. So I tell him anyway, I mean he just said ball licker to me, why not?


Temper tantrum
I was a substitute teacher for a nice guy at another Energy Company for three weeks. He was about 35 with a wife, one son and another little boy on the way.

One day he showed me a picture he had with him on his phone of his son at the zoo. He was explaining to me very slowly, (his English level was about intermediate), that his wife had recently taken his son to the zoo to ride the carousel, but it turns out the zoo was closed. His son was upset. Very upset.

"This is what happened," he said, leaning over to show me a picture of his son, about 3 years old, clinging to the cage bars of the gate at the zoo, on his knees, with his head thrown back, eyes closed and mouth wide open in an obvious wail of disapproval. This was a temper tantrum, I explained. My student learned two new words that day to use for the next time the zoo was closed or something else wasn't available to his little boy.

It took me a while to realize who this student looked like. At first I thought, this guy is like a slightly less attractive version of Mark Wahlberg. And then I thought, what the fuck is wrong with you?? He is just Mark Wahlberg's brother Donnie!



And there we have it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

here's to ricardo balbin

Ricardo Balbin was clearly a very interesting and respectable man. I'm not shittin you. He was a political figure and lawyer in Argentina in the twentieth century. He was part of the Unión Cívica Radical which was an extreme leftist political group that emerged in the late 1800s. Balbin was persecuted for his political beliefs and even sent to jail during Peron's term as president. This guy was a mostly modern-day bad ass.

All of that being said, here is his statue in Plaza del Congreso.



I hope that one day if my life is noble enough that someone decides to erect a statue in my honor, they choose a better pose. Who sat down in the meeting to commence the statue design of this man and threw out the idea of "casual glance"? Let's immortalize Balbin and his strength of character by having him do what he did best, stand awkwardly and look slightly to the right. If I were Balbin, I'd have zombied my ass into that meeting and forced them to put me in a toga or SOMETHING. "No! I want horses, and I'll be on a chariot, and maybe give me a crown and have me raising my fist....I don't know, could you just have me doing something cool, mother fuckers?? I already DID my job, do I need to school you assholes on making a cool monument TOO???"